Our LSC Elections 2020: Community Feedback & Recommendations report is here. (You can read the report as a pdf here.) Our prepared statement is below. You can also find statements from several LSC candidates sharing their LSC Election experience. RYH signed on to this letter presented to the board and organized by Chicago Veterans for Peace.
The meeting was live streamed on the CPS YouTube channel starting at 10:30AM. Our live tweets are here: @ILRaiseYourHand. For more live tweets, please follow the #ChiDocumenter assigned to the meeting. Press coverage is far below.
Do you have a comment you want to share with the CPS BOE? Visit www.cpsboe.org, scroll down to “Written Comments” and click on “Board Meeting Dec 16 Form." This link takes you to a Google form. If you have trouble accessing the form your CPS child might be logged into their CPS account on your device- log them off, then proceed again. This form will close Th, Dec 17, 5PM.
Natasha Erskine, CPS Parent & RYH's LSC Parent Organizer
RYH Statement with Overview of LSC Elections Recommendations
Good morning, my name is Natasha, I'm the mom of an amazing CPS HS student and parent-LSC advocate at Raise Your Hand. I appreciate the opportunity to address the board and CPS today regarding the recent LSC Election.
We commend and congratulate every candidate who dared to step up and run for LSC during a global health pandemic with devastating effects across Chicago. This year's rise in interest came amid this summer’s SRO votes. Shout out to all of the first-timers who were recently elected. There is so much work to do before our schools are ready to safely welcome our children back into the building. It is a disappointment that the district did not meet this moment with the level of seriousness, integrity and transparency LSC elections deserve.
RYH conducted a week-long survey: the word confusing was mentioned 32 times. That is a reflection of the severe lack of clear and consistent communication and guidance throughout the election process. The lack of training, scant staffing and failures to follow CPS policy caused great stress and anxiety across the city. This was avoidable; as an informed community; thousands of stakeholders attempted and failed many times to offer support and recommendations to the CPS Office of LSC Relations.
To the Board members who are passionate about the democracy LSCs provide for our city; your leadership is needed at this moment. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, there was an unnecessary burden put on candidates, parents, students and schools. The lack of attention to details has hurt the trust and faith in this democratic process and in the CPS Office of LSC Relations. When forced to grade the district's ability to deliver proper, legal attention and oversight to a public election...The People grade you a D+.
Parents across the district consistently said that with proper and adequate oversight, clear communication and consistent guidance/training, multiple avenues for voting are necessary to welcome full access to the ballot box. We urge CPS to adopt the community-informed recommendations and best practices found in our report for the next LSC Election in 2022 and beyond. Further, we urge the adoption of LSC Elections policies and practices that clearly detail ethical obligations in accordance to the laws which govern the process.
We emailed this report to the CPS Board of Education members and we submitted it via the Written Comments form.
Carmen Holiday, CPS Parent
Good Morning Board Members, my name is Carmen Holiday...I appreciate the opportunity to speak. My husband and I have 3 children enrolled in CPS.
I want to share with you how the principal's toxic behavior has gone on for so long, and has caused a climate of fear in the school, demanding blind loyalty. For the better part of a year, I've written complaints about serious policy violations...and nothing has been done. In fact, I've been told by CPS leaders that the principal is protected, and that no complaint that I submit about her will be investigated. Some of those policy violations include disenrolling my, and other children from the school unjustly, without parents knowledge, not following the IEP; removing my son from his least restrictive environment and supports, negatively influencing the way my children experience school and activities in an effort to retaliate for my active engagement and previous complaints.
This principal has stopped at nothing to bully and harass active parents and community members who dare ask valid questions and offer suggestions. Her unprofessional conduct is widely known. During public meetings, she has resulted to demeaning characterizations of not only myself, but others parents, caregivers, and community members as 'disgruntled and malicious' and 'you need to put on your big girl panties and watch what you say.' An objective perception is that her comments were intentionally divisive towards parents and LSC members. The Office of LSC Relations, the Chief of Network #10, and LSC Facilitator have been made aware of ongoing issues and concerns with significant requests for support and remediation. To this day, we have not received support for the ongoing bullying and grossly unprofessional conduct.
I feel that if our concerns were addressed and not ignored, this principal and her team would not have been able to unjustly influence and rig the recent LSC election. The process was full of questionable influence, where witnesses have stated school staff tampered with votes, ballots and showed a general lack of integrity, as well as there not being any election judges present. This, to make sure who was elected to the council. Again, I submitted an election challenge, or complaint to CPS; and have not heard back.
I want to believe the district does not ignore valid complaints around policy violations. I would like to formally request there be an investigation into the policy violations made by Ashburn principal Jewel Diaz immediately. I would like to see follow up for substantiated reports not limited to: intimidation, retaliation, and conduct that doesn't belong in a school. Her behavior has run too many students, families, and teachers away from the school. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Aisha Noble, CPS Parent
Press coverage leading up to the meeting
Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago Public Schools seeks to extend its emergency spending powers
Press coverage of the meeting